AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Gimme a C (For Collaboration!): Coding, Collaboration, and Community

Earlier this year, the Westerville Public Library was awarded a LSTA Summer Library Program Grant through the State Library of Ohio that allowed us to purchase robots (Kibo, Dash & Dot, and Sphero SPRK+) to extend our already popular in-house technology programs. But we also wanted to reach children who might never make it to the public library. During June and July of 2017, we collaborated with the Westerville City Schools Summer Intervention program to visit 3rd and 4th graders–many of whom had never been to a public library– to introduce students to basic coding with our new robot partners. Experience: The intrinsic appeal of learning with robots instantly captured students’ attention. We met one of the main goals–increasing interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math)–right away, as most students had no prior hands-on experiences with robotics. We emphasized basic coding concepts and the engineering design process: ask,…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM Hurricane Irma Activities – Kids Tweens Teens

Weather map of hurricane

STEM Hurricane Activities So, yes, quite frankly we have been living under a rock for the past few weeks.  Why you may ask?  Hurricanes, of course!  It’s been a matter of survival!   Now that things are slowly returning to normal and libraries are re-opening, help kids understand one of the strongest forces of nature through STEM hurricane activities!     STEM Hurricane Activities just for Kids How does wind move across the United States – check out this amazing, interactive map!           Build your own hurricane without the messy cleanup!   In this interactive game, kids can build their own hurricane.  They’ll learn what kinds of wind conditions, latitude, and sea temperature make hurricanes.  It’s okay if they don’t know a lot about hurricanes—there are hints built in to help them out.       But wait, there’s more! Aim a Hurricane – Students can learn…

STEM/STEAM

Cheap and Easy STEM Programs

It’s no secret that I love doing STEM programs. They’re educational, a bit chaotic, and fun. If you fear facilitating STEM programs, consider this: remember when science was awesome? Before it got all difficult and filled with math that still gives you (read: me) panic attacks? When you’re a kid, everything is new and super cool because you’re learning how the world works. Frankly, sometimes science seems like magic–only better because it’s real. So, you can take that natural curiosity of theirs and use it to explore science alongside them. You don’t need to be an expert; just admit you don’t know something and learn with them as you go. Ahem. Pardon my science-y soap boxing. This month, I’m sharing my Top 5 Inexpensive STEM Programs: Catapults. In my program, 4th-6th graders learned a bit about physics, watched educational videos about how medieval “siege engines” worked, and built two types…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Eclipse Madness : Zombies Might be Easier

In case you are one of the 18 people who  haven’t yet heard the news: there’s going to be a total solar eclipse on August 21st, that will cross the United States. Media coverage of this rare occurrence  is exploding. It’s exciting to have such an enthusiastic response from the public.  It’s also a little intimidating.     Along with 4799 other public libraries, my library was lucky enough to be selected for the eclipse viewing glasses grant. The 2017 Solar Eclipse project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant GBMF5373 to the Space Science Institute.  When I applied months ago, barely anyone had heard about the event. It hardly made a ripple in the programming pond.  Some of my colleagues questioned why we would need so many pairs of the glasses. I strenuously asserted that, yes, we would need every single pair. It turns out…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM: Teaching Kids About Nuclear Concepts

Four days ago was the 72nd anniversary of a U.S. atomic bomb destroying five square miles of the city of Hiroshima.  Yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of the U.S’ atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  In five days time from the writing of this post, WWII ended. NEA The NEA has an excellent set of lesson plans, text resources, images and video to help children understand the events that concluded WWII. Turning the tragic loss of 210000 men, women and children into a positive experience for our youngest patrons is not beyond any of us.  And in many ways, I personally feel that the majority of those who perished that fateful week would want our next generation to understand the positive and constructive uses for nuclear energy. Voyager We are on the cusp of a major eclipse, and there’s no better time while children are excited about astronomy to tell them all about the…

Guest Blogger

Exploring 3D Shapes in Early Math Programming

As children’s librarians, we are pros at introducing shapes to even the youngest of customers in our libraries. How many times have we pointed to a circle in baby time, made triangles with our fingers in toddler time, or sang a shapes song in preschool story time? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Introducing the concept of 3-Dimensional shapes can be just as easy and is just as important for young learners. As a friend once told me “2D shapes are flat and 3D shapes are fat.” I use this saying frequently in my story times when we look at 3D shapes, such as building blocks, Legos, and various shapes I use on our light table or projector. Introducing 3D shapes to toddlers and preschoolers involves 1. Sharing their correct name 2. Having children use the accurate mathematical term and 3. Giving them time to build with and explore the shape. Youth at…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Summer Reading Wind Down – time to amp it up!

Inaction is not an option! 2017 Summer Reading might be winding down, but it’s time to amp it up for next year!  Next year’s theme is ‘Libraries Rock!’.  STEM and STEAM programming have tons of crossover applications to music. Here’s a few ideas to get you stoked for next year! Ukulele Got ukes?  How about a ukulele club?  Learning to play a few chords on ukulele is super easy – anyone can learn.  Nail C-F-G chords and you’d be floored how many songs you can play with ease.  We’ve been teaching all summer long and the kids are lovin’ it.  Next summer would be a great opportunity for you to start up your own club.  We searched around and found starter kits, complete with ukulele, bag, picks, tuner and extra strings for only $34 on sale on Amazon.                 Teens! Teens will truly…

Blogger Laura Schulte-Cooper

Grant Program for Libraries to Support Computer Science & Computational Thinking

Competitive Grant Program Sponsored by Google

ALA has announced a competitive grant program, sponsored by Google, that will fund a cohort of 25-50 school and public libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with youth, including underrepresented youth.  The grant application will open in late July.  If you’d like to get notification when the application is open, sign up via this online form. The $500,000 program is part of Phase III of Libraries Ready to Code, an ongoing collaboration between ALA and Google to ensure library staff are prepared to develop and deliver programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth, two skills that will be required for challenges and jobs of the future. ALSC is partnering with ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, AASL, and YALSA to implement this program. Learn more.